First, as reported by La Velle Neal of the Star Tribune, the Twins brought minor league free agent RHP Brian Bass back into the fold yesterday, placing him on the 40-man roster. Neal reports that this leaves the Twins with 2 open spaces on the roster, but my count is at 39 -- unless there's been an unreported removal of someone, I'm pretty sure I'm right about that one. Of course, it's probably a moot point -- after yesterday's trade, the Twins are likely to non-tender Craig Monroe at the December 12 deadline.
Bass will turn 26 in January, and has been around for a long time. He spent the first 7 years of his professional career in the Royals system, working his way up to AAA. In November of 2003, he was added to the 40-man roster and was optioned in 2004, '05, and '06. After the 2006 season, he left the Royals as a minor league free agent and joined the Twins, putting together a solid 7-3 record with a 3.48 ERA and 1.16 WHIP in 103.1 innings spread across 10 starts and 27 relief appearances with the Rochester Red Wings. Now that he's on the roster, he'll get an invite to spring training in February and will have a chance to earn a place on the roster -- and if he can't, he'll have to clear waivers to be sent to the minor leagues.
The Twins yesterday also signed RHP R.A. Dickey and LHP Mariano Gomez to minor league deals with invites to spring training. Dickey, who just turned 33 in October, spent parts of 5 seasons with the Texas Rangers, compiling a 5.72 major league ERA in 266 innings split between starting and relieving. Last season, he spent the entire season with the Brewers AAA club in Nashville, compiling a 3.72 ERA in 169.1 innings, mostly as a starter. Gomez is a 25-year-old who has spent his entire professional career in the Indians organization, posting a 4.15 ERA and 1.41 WHIP in 558 innings, also split between starting and relieving. While one or both of these players may end up in the Twins minor league system next year, I'd be rather astonished if either of these players showed up in a Twins uniform during the regular season.
Meanwhile, the Twins website has 3 signings from November 22 listed on the transactions page. First up is right-handed outfielder Jon Knott, a 29-year-old with 19 games of Major League experience with the Padres and Orioles. Knott is a career .280 minor league hitter, but his good years pretty much all came during or before 2003. The Twins also signed catcher Eli Whiteside, a 28-year-old also out of the Orioles organization. Finally, the Twins also signed veteran IF Howie Clark, who will be 34 in February. Clark has 130 games of Major League experience, split between the Orioles and Blue Jays (he's gone back and forth a few times). Last season, he hit .204 in 49 AB's for the Jays. Realistically, these signings were almost certainly made simply to provide some organizational depth at these positions.